World Horizons began in the early 1980’s when a group of young people with a desire for adventure asked God where in the world they should go.
Setting out to discover the places where their prayers led them, they settled in new countries where they saw the transforming power of Jesus at work in people’s lives. Many of these incredible pioneers are still part of our movement today!
Loving God and loving others among all peoples.
One Sunday afternoon in April 1998 my father came home with a folder of missionary promotional presentation that he had borrowed from the director of Missão Horizontes in Brazil that changed my life.
David Botelho was recruiting Venezuelan trainees for a new training program that would begin the following year. My father, quite excited had told him, “My daughter has a missionary calling”, so David did not hesitate in giving to him his promotional material with the promise that his daughter would personally return them.
And so it was, the following weekend I went to return the folder and to hear David and Fred Nuckley share about their training program in a local church in Caracas. David learned that I spoke English, so he asked me to translate for Fred who had an English accent I had never heard before. While Fred described what would become known as the “Radical” project, I was trying hard to understand what he was saying and at the same time grasp what it meant to me personally.
My heart was being stirred up and a fire began to burn within me that ignited a passion to serve the Lord wherever He leads me. I became quite determined to use this window of opportunity to serve the Lord in the nations.
Ten months later, Jesús, my husband and I bade farewell to our local church and families and embarked on the greatest adventure of our lives with the World Horizons family. We were on our way to Minas Gerais, Brazil to be trained along with 10 other Venezuelans and 80+ Brazilians. During our training in that country many World Horizons leaders from the UK visited us and continued to fan the flame of love for God and HIs mission among the least reached people of the world. No challenge was too great to stop us from reaching the mission field as we were totally committed to be “Radical”.
Since then, we have spent 24 years serving the Lord of the harvest in the midst of different people groups, sharing His Word, leading many to worship their Creator, praying for revival in many nations and inspiring a new generation from Latin-American to obey the Great Commission so that all our efforts may bring Jesus Christ back in our time.
I have crossed the Sahara desert seven times overland from Europe to West Africa.
An amazing privilege. Amazing experiences. I was aged 23 the first time. It has contributed to a deep lifetime love for Africa and the honour of going to live and work there. It connected my life with tribes and places I had never heard of – while in fairness in Africa, nobody had heard of me and of the places I had come from. Now many of my deepest friendships and common experiences are with people from the beloved continent. Horizons (as it was known then) gave the space and encouragement to have a go at something a bit out of the box.
Doors opened that I had never remotely considered. My school experience in the UK after five years study left me with unclassified French. You cannot get any lower! The part of Africa that adopted me is French speaking with of course many different African languages.
Careers advice never suggested working with nomads on the edge of the Sahara. But….God had a different view of my life.
I went on several missions trips with Horizons as a university student. Jammed into a vehicle with other young people. Camping under the stars in southern Morocco. Reading bible passages from Isaiah about “roads in the desert, hope and promise.” Saw shepherds out in the wilderness, stunning mountain villages and ate food round a common bowl cross legged on a carpet under a palm tree. It made the bible come alive. It formed me. Part of me I wasn’t aware of came alive. Not much beats sitting on an old African train chugging through the bush, having a pray for mud hut villages, and chatting to generous African fellow travellers.
Penguins or People?
Of course, there were challenging moments. At the end if uni, I did have an offer of an amazing research job working as an Ecologist. I remember asking God with the application forms completed – “is this really for me?” In the quiet moment I think I heard God say “its up to you. Its your choice.” I remember thinking ”Please Lord – any more help than that?!” And after a bit of silence – I heard the Lord say, “Sure. It is up to you. Penguins or People…” And a flood of African faces came to me. And I said to be honest with a smile – “OK Lord I think this is missions for me – I will ask to join Horizons for a year, and no more.” As with all of us, the Lord was patient and understood me. And I have been part of the Horizons family for more than thirty years and have lived, worked, and visited over 70 nations as part of my story.
In that “year with Horizons” a few of us were getting more and more drawn to West Africa. We were innocent enough to pray over maps, research and think and we came up with ( or God sowed into us) the wacky idea of doing up an ex-army 4×4 truck and going to West Africa for three months to pray, explore, experience and try and be a blessing. We spent a year getting the bits together. Rebuilding the truck. Hitch hiking to university CU/Intervarsity groups to find others willing to go for an adventure. Hard work, lots of prayer and amazing answers.
There is nothing like journeying for listening to God and being challenged. Then over the next few years we did more trips, made connections, built a team and network, learnt French and then some of us moved to West Africa. Most of the people on the early trips went onto work in missions and development all over the world.
Now years later there are many churches started, schools established, heath care set up and many projects to develop economic and social well being. We have been a bit of the process of many finding faith and now there are a number of African indigenous local mission movements.
So, if you are reading this – and asking questions, then be open to God having some fun but profound thoughts for your story that are way beyond your present “realities.” Remember God loves to work through the “abundantly more than we can ask or imagine,” and weave you into something that will make a difference to the world He loves.
Happy to chat with anyone, if this stirs you about your adventures and steps into missions.
World Horizons is an intergenerational and culturally diverse international movement.
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At World Horizons we want to journey with you as you explore what that calling might look like and show you how to live it so that you can play your part in building the Kingdom of God.